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Summer 2011 Newsletter

Message from the Director

I am happy to report that later this summer, Martin G. Myers, Jr., MD, PhD, co-director of the MDRTC and Director of the Pilot and Feasibility Study Grants Program (PF/S), will assume the position of Principal Investigator and Director of the MDRTC.  Dr. Myers will also serve as the Director of the Proteomics and Metabolomics Core of the MDRTC. 

Christin Carter-Su, PhD, will assume responsibility as Director of the PF/S Program and continue her other responsibilities as associate director of the MDRTC and chief of the Biomedical Research Division.  

We expect that the MCDTR will be funded sometime in August.  The RFA for the Diabetes Center is also expected to be released by NIH in August.  Martin G. Myers Jr., Christin Carter-Su, Linda Potter, Pamela Campbell, Barb Hawkins, and I will be diligently working on the application over the next few months and may be contacting you for information.  Quick responses to requests for information will be greatly appreciated.

I have greatly enjoyed working with you as the Director of the MDRTC and look forward to continued collaborations in my new role as Director of the MCDTR.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to several new members and identify their research interests.  Please join me in welcoming:

Steven F. Abcouwer, PhD, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Research Interests:  Diabetic retinopathy, neurodegeneration; microglia
David Antonetti, PhD, Ophthalmology and Integrative Physiology
Research Interests:  Diabetic retinopathy, blood-retinal barrier, tight junctions
Peter F. Bodary, PhD, School of Kinesiology
Research Interests:   Health communication, health behavior, intervention, survey methodology
Lena Chen, MD, Internal Medicine,
Research Interests:  Hospital medicine, quality of care, cost of care
Y. Eugene Chen, MD, Internal Medicine
Research Interests:  PhDPPARgamma, diabetic drug development, cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes
Rachel Davis, PhD, MPH, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health
Research Interests:  Health communication, health behavior, intervention, survey methodology
Todd J. Herron, PhD, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Research Interests:  Cardiac myocytes, calcium, myofilaments
Theodore Iwashyna, MD, PhD, Internal Medicine,
Research Interests:  Hospitalization for complications of NIDDK, sepsis, organization of care
Deborah A. Levine, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine and Neurology
Research Interests:  Stroke, hypertension, quality
David B. Lombard, MD, PhD, Pathology and Institute of Gerontology
Research Interests:  Sirtuins; mitochondria; calorie restriction
Dr. David P. Olson, MD, PhD, Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
Research Interests:  Obesity, hypothalamus, diabetes
Amy Rothberg, MD, Internal Medicine-Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes
Research Interests:  Obesity and metabolic disorders
Roni Shtein, PhD, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Research Interests:  In vivo cornea confocal microscopy
Xiaochun Yu, MD, PhD, Internal Medicine
Research Interests:  Epigenetics, chromatin remodeling, gene transcription

In its next grant cycle, NIH is promoting and offering additional funds to Diabetes Centers that serve as regional resources. In preparation for becoming a regional diabetes center, the MDRTC recently opened several cores to funded investigators at regional institutions.  I would also like to welcome several new members from Michigan State University, the University of Toledo, and Wayne State University.

Barbara Atshaves, PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University
Research Interests:  Lipid metabolism, confocal microscopy, obesity
James Granneman, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Wayne State University
Research Interests: Adipose tissue, lipolysis, diabetes
Jennifer W. Hill, PhD, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Toledo,
Research Interests:  Hypothalamus, energy homeostasis, fertility
Menq-Jer Lee, PhD, Department of Pathology, Wayne State University
Research Interests:  Sphingolipid, GPCR, inflammation
Laura R. McCabe, PhD, Department of Physiology, Michigan State University
Research Interests:  Type 1 diabetes induced osteoporosis, osmoadaptation/osmotic stress, diabetes induced bone marrow changes/adiposity
Sonja J. Najjar, PhD, Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Toledo
Research Interests: Diabetes and endocrine research
Narayanan Parameswaran, PhD, Department of Physiology, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
Research Interests:  Inflammation, cell signaling, toll-like receptors
Joshua J. Park, PhD, Neurosciences, University of Toledo
Research Interests:  Obesity, neuropeptides, hypothalamus
Assia Shisheva, PhD, Department of Physiology, Wayne State University
Research Interests:  Mouse models of insulin resistance, insulin responsiveness in target cells and tissues, mouse models for metabolic syndrome
Zhengping Yi, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wayne State University
Research Interests:  Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, mass spectrometry and proteomics, signal transduction, protein phosphorylation, protein-protein interactions
Kezhong Zhang, PhD, Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University
Research Interests:  Lipid metabolism, ER stress, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease 

Please consider these new members as potential research collaborators.

Best wishes,

MDRTC Core Updates


Just a reminder:  The Proteomics Facility Core at Wayne State University is available to MDRTC members for characterization of protein identity, modification and differential and as a resource for training, education and consultation for proteomic applications.  The Proteomics Core, under the direction of Paul M. Stemmer, PhD, Associate Professor, Wayne State University, provides the following services:

The MDRTC provides discounts for Proteomics Facility Core services for diabetes-related projects. Initially, a discount of 50% with a cap of $3000/investigator will be given.  Discounts will be reassessed as we gain more experience with usage. To have your project reviewed for diabetes-relatedness, please e-mail Martin G. Myers, MD, PhD at

If you are planning a large project, we encourage speaking with either Dr. Stemmer, core director, (313-577-6536) or Dr. Joseph Caruso, co-director, (313-577-6542) before submitting samples. 

For general inquiries about sample submission, please contact the laboratory at 313-577-6545.

A submission form should be included with all samples. That form is available on the Proteomics Facility Core web site at
Studies involving human subjects must submit documentation of IRB approval with the samples.

Studies that require IACUC approval must include the approved investigator’s name and the approval number with the samples. 

Samples should be mailed with ice packs or dry ice to:

Wayne State University
Proteomics Facility Core
Room 2105, Scott Hall of Medical Sciences
540 East Canfield
Detroit, MI, USA, 48201

Samples are accepted Monday through Friday.  Morning delivery should be selected for samples that need to be opened on the day of delivery. 

The fee structure for these services may be found at  

For complete information on the equipment, analysis tools, services and
fees, submission criteria, etc. please go to

Small Molecule and RNAi Screening

Funds are available to members of the MDRTC for small molecule and RNAi screens to be performed in the Center for Chemical Genomics (CCG) at the Life Sciences Institute.  RNAi screens are used to identify specific genes/pathways that regulate a biological process of interest in mouse or human cell lines.  Small molecule screens can be used for probe or drug discovery on  cell-based or biochemical targets.

More information about CCG screening is available at
Potential users should begin by contacting Martha Larsen in the CCG at to discuss the feasibility of the screen and to obtain advice and assistance in establishing an appropriate screening assay. The MDRTC will subsidize the cost of the actual screen, but not the development of the screening assay.

For MDRTC support, please prepare a 1-2 page research proposal that provides information on a) background and significance; b) preliminary data relating to the assay target and screen; and c) anticipated outcome of the screen and potential impact of data. 
Depending on availability of funds, awards will be at 50% of CCG recharges up to $10,000 per PI and should be directed towards the cost of the screen, which can include supplies for the assay, but exclude development and special reagent costs.  Include a budget page in the application materials.

Application materials should be submitted to Ron Koenig for approval at

Morphology and Image Analysis Core

One purpose of the Morphology and Image Analysis Core (MIAC) is to provide MDRTC investigators with new and innovative morphological and image analysis techniques to support their research on diabetes, its complications or related endocrine and metabolic disorders.  Below are three recent services that the MIAC is pleased to announce:

Advancements in Confocal Microscopy

The MIAC recently purchased a new Nikon A1 Confocal Microscopy System to replace the Olympus Fluoview 500 confocal system that is no longer covered by an extended warranty agreement.  The Nikon Al confocal combined with an inverted Ti-E microscope will accommodate the immediate and future needs of our investigators for both fixed and live samples.  The A1 system is capable of imaging 5 separate channels (4 fluorescence + 1 transmitted light photomultiplier detectors) to capture signals from blue, green, red and far-red fluorochromes. 

The modular platform of the A1 system offers the greatest degree of flexibility, allowing for future upgrades to enhance the system.  The Ti-E microscope can easily be upgraded to a variety of imaging modalities including Perfect Focus System (PFS), Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) and Super Resolution. 

The MIAC is in the process of upgrading the Nikon A1 confocal system and the Ti-E microscope for long-term live cell imaging.  This includes the purchase of a 60X water objective, a motorized stage, Tokai Hit environmental chamber and Nikon’s Perfect Focus System.  The PFS provides real time focus correction to overcome focus drift caused by thermal and mechanical effects for dramatically increased quality of long-term time-lapse imaging in live cells.  Combined with NIS-Elements image acquisition software, these upgrades will support diverse imaging methods such as multi-dimensional time-lapse imaging to acquire temporal, spatial, and spectral information of fast, dynamic live cell processes.  Few, if any other microscopes on Campus have the capabilities these upgrades will provide to our investigators.

The MIAC will continue to support confocal microscopy on the Olympus Fluoview 500 as long as it remains cost effective.  Investigators also have access to the Leica SP5 confocal system, which is a shared resource between the Diabetes Center and the Kellogg Eye Center. 

Those interested in any of the confocal systems should contact Dr. Stephen I. Lentz, the MIAC Laboratory Director, to set up an appointment for consultation (e-mail or telephone 734-647-8233).  He has expertise in the use of all three systems and will direct you to the instrument that will best suite your research needs.

Advancements in Image Analysis

The MIAC purchased Imaris software, Bitplane’s cutting-edge 3D and 4D imaging software.  Imaris allows visualization of original data objects in a real time interactive manner so investigators can quickly make visual assessments of their experiments in 3D and 4D to discover relationships that are otherwise hidden.  Its rendering quality, speed, precision and interactivity are unrivalled. With a large variety of segmentation options, Imaris provides investigators with the most effective tools to segment even the toughest datasets to identify, separate, and visualize individual objects and then retrieve a comprehensive array of measurements from the objects.  The software is available on a Windows 64-bit core workstation equipped with 12 GBs of RAM and 1 GB video card.  The core continues to support other sophisticated image analysis software including, Autoquant X, Volocity, MetaMorph, MATLAB, Leica Advanced Fluorescence Application Suite, Fluoview and Nikon Elements.  Those interested in the use of Imaris or other software packages should contact Dr. Stephen I. Lentz, the MIAC Laboratory Director (e-mail or telephone 734-647-8233). 
Improved Data Storage and Transfer
Image data sets are becoming increasingly larger with the advancement of detectors, computers and storage devices associated with the core’s microscopes.  The MIAC purchased a network attached storage (NAS) server to improve the storage and transfer of data collected in the core.  The QNAP TS-259 Pro is a powerful 2-bay server that has two 1.5 TB hard drives that provide 1.5 TBs of mirrored/duplicated storage space.  Investigators are able to safely store data acquired on the core’s equipment up to 1 month and then remotely access the server to quickly and efficiently transfer their data to their laboratory computers.  Contact Dr. Stephen I. Lentz, the MIAC Laboratory Director (e-mail or telephone 734-647-8233) to learn more about access to NAS server.

Chemistry Laboratory

Linda K. Brish, Medical Technologist, will be leaving the Chemistry Laboratory after seven years of service.  Linda recently accepted a position in the Pathology Department in the Immunology Laboratory.  Linda has provided excellent service to MDRTC members during her tenure with the Chemistry Laboratory.  Please join us in wishing Linda the best in her new endeavor

NIH-Sponsored Medical Student Training Program: Summer 2011

The Medical Student Summer Research Program in Diabetes sponsored by the National Institutes of Health through the NIDDK allows medical students to conduct research under the direction of an established scientist in the areas of diabetes, hormone action, physiology, islet cell biology, or obesity at one of 16 NIDDK-funded Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Centers (DERC) or Diabetes Research and Training Centers (DRTC). The internship is for up to a twelve-week period (June-August).  The students work with a mentor and are paid a stipend by NIH.  The objectives of this program are to provide medical students the opportunity to conduct diabetes-related research and to gain an improved understanding of career opportunities in biomedical research.

The mentors for the 2011 MSTP program included Malcolm Low, MD, PhD, Molecular & Integrative Physiology;  Lei Yin, PhD, Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine, Keiko Asao, MD, MPH, PhD, Internal Medicine, Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes; Elif M. Oral, MD, Internal Medicine, Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes, and Y. Eugene Chen, MD, PhD, Internal Medicine, Cardiology.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for a medical student for the summer of 2012, please email Linda Potter at ldpotter@umich.eduto inform her of your interest and the type of research the medical student would participate in.

Upcoming Seminars

Please mark your calendar for the following seminar.

Geoffrey Bartholomeusz, PhD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
"RNAi Screens for Therapeutic Target Discovery in Cancer"
Date:  Friday, September 16, 2011
Time:  9:00-10:00 a.m.
Location:  Great Lakes North, Palmer Commons
Host:  Martha Larsen

Citing the MDRTC in publications

Please cite the MDRTC in your publications when you have used MDRTC resources.  NIDDK uses the number of research papers citing the grant to evaluate diabetes centers.  A national Diabetes Centers website was established which automatically retrieves publications from PubMed Central that contain the Center grant number.  Currently less than one-third of the publications supported by the MDRTC actually cite the MDRTC grant number in the Acknowledgements.  We need to improve our reporting and require your assistance to do so. 

The following language can be used to recognize the MDRTC in publications:

“This work utilized ______Core(s) of the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center funded by P60DK020572 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.”


“The project described was supported by award number P60DK020572 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.”


“This work was funded by a Pilot and Feasibility Study from the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center (P60DK020572 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases).”

Accolades to MDRTC Members

Internal Awards

League of Research Excellence
The League of Research Excellence is designed to celebrate Medical School faculty researchers who achieve significant successes. Recently, the Medical School paused to recognize and thank 140 faculty scientists and physicians who were inducted into the “League of Research Excellence”, 30 of whom are MDRTC members. The inaugural group included those who garnered $1 million or more in research awards or expenditures in 2010.  A list of the celebrated MDRTC members follows:
Peter Arvan, MD, PhD
Ruma Banerjee, PhD
Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, MD
Frank Brosius II, MD
Charles Burant, MD, PhD
Yuqing Chen, MD, PhD
Daniel Clauw, MD
Eva L. Feldman, MD, PhD
David Fink, MD
Gary Freed, MD, MPH
Deborah Gumucio, PhD, MPH
Jeffrey B. Halter, MD
Garry Hammer, MD, PhD
Rodney A. Hayward, MD
William H. Herman, MD, MPH
Friedhelm Hildebrandt, MD
Randal Kaufman, PhD
Ronald Koenig, MD, PhD
Matthias Kretzler, MD
Malcolm Low, MD, PhD
Ormond MacDougald, MD
Lewis Morgenstern, MD
Martin G. Myers, MD, PhD
Akinlolu Ojo, MD, PhD, MPH
Vasantha Padmanabhan, PhD
Subramaniam Pennathur, MBBS
Sem Phan, MD, PhD
Massimo Pietropaolo, MD
Scott Pletcher, PhD
Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD

Taubman Scholars

The second round of Taubman Scholars was recently announced at the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute and seven leading U-M clinician-scientists received the prestigious new Taubman Scholar award, two of whom are MDRTC investigators. One MDRTC investigator received the Senior Taubman Scholars award.

New Taubman Scholars

Frank Brosius, MD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Division Chief, Nephrology: Brosius is studying how elevated blood sugar levels and other diabetes-associated abnormalities lead to metabolic changes in kidney cells, which ultimately cause progressive kidney damage and failure. Using the same techniques, he hopes to find better diagnostic tests for diabetic kidney disease, the most common cause of kidney failure in the U.S., which can lead to earlier detection and more effective treatment.

Charles F. Burant, MD, PhD, Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Metabolism, Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Director, U-M Metabolomics and Obesity Center: Burant is studying new approaches to understanding and treating obesity. His research utilizes metabolomics, the measurement of small molecules (metabolites) in biological samples. Burant hopes to understand which metabolites play a role in signaling the brain that enough food has been eaten, providing a tool to preventing or treating obesity.

Senior Taubman Scholars

Eva Feldman, MD, PhD, Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology; Director of the Taubman Institute, Director of the Program for Research & Discovery: Feldman is conducting the first FDA-approved human clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for ALS. At the same time, she is working to adapt that stem cell therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease. She is also a leading authority on diabetes-related neuropathy.

External Awards

Scott Pletcher, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and research associate professor at the Institute of Gerontology, Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award.